Tag Archives: popular

Boeuf Bourguignon Crepes

Recipe for the Daring Kitchen
Our May 2012 Daring Cooks’ hostess was Fabi of fabsfood. Fabi challenged us to make Boeuf Bourguignon, a classic French stew originating from the Burgundy region of France.

Like Julia, But Dirtier

Boeuf Bourguignon, particularly Julia Child’s definitive recipe, reads like poetry to me. The ingredients and process seem more a love song to an art form well-worth filing in the category of works that make my heart ache in that oh-so-good kinda way. So when it was announced by our lovely hostess Fabi that this month’s Daring Kitchen was to make Julia’s boeuf, you’d expect me to be swooning. Except I wasn’t, and all because of one little detail. I’m in Phoenix. And it’s already fucking incendiary. Continue reading Boeuf Bourguignon Crepes

Black Bean Cakes with Pineapple Salsa and Avocado Crema

Recipe for the Daring Kitchen
This month, The Daring Cooks’ February 2012 challenge was hosted by Audax & Lis and they chose to present patties for their ease of construction, ingredients and deliciousness. We were given several recipes, and learned the different types of binders and cooking methods to produce our own tasty patties.

I Want a Taste of You, Baby Cakes

This recipe was all the doing of my buddy Karen – you see, this month has been banana cakes and not in the good way.  My schedule’s relentless and although I’ll never cop to biting off more than I can chew, my mouth is as full as my plate and work is looking like an endless buffet.  Karen and I are cooking buddies, seeking out new techniques in the kitchen and regularly participating in the monthly challenges proffered up by the online foodie club, The Daring Kitchen.

Karen immediately dug through her mental rolodex of recipe majesty, a good thing because my brain was more fried than a bucket of chicken from the Colonel.  She remembered a fabulous black bean cake recipe from Emeril Lagasse would be perfect to make.  I was relieved for her quick wit and paired the cakes with a fresh pineapple salsa enlivened with piquant red jalapenos and a simple avocado crema made with greek yogurt and lime.  The final result was ridiculously good – a composed plate that looked like it should be served at a fancy pants restaurant rather than the picnic table in my backyard.  Plus, the time we spent cooking was a welcome respite from the piles of work in front of me.  Good times! Continue reading Black Bean Cakes with Pineapple Salsa and Avocado Crema

Red Chile Tamales

Recipe for The Daring Kitchen
Maranda of Jolts & Jollies was our January 2012 Daring Cooks hostess with the mostess! Maranda challenged us to make traditional Mexican Tamales as our first challenge of the year!

Spreading Your Masa All Over the Damn Town

Back when I was little, my grandmother used to have a friend at her work who’s family would make tamales en masse at Christmas.  She’d give her a few dozen and we got to feast on the little parcels of majesty for what I’d love to say was weeks after, but they barely lasted a few days.  We had them steamed plain with nothing else to slow us down except for maybe some pinto beans or fluffy Spanish rice.  I’ve long been searching for a killer tamale recipe in the same way as I’ve wanted the PERFECT enchilada sauce recipe.  I’ve gone through MANY iterations and variations of ones that come close, but I’ve yet to hit perfection.  So of course, when I found out that this month’s Daring Kitchen competition was to make tamales, I was so excited to have the opportunity to get back in the lab and start tinkering again. Continue reading Red Chile Tamales

Sweet Fregola Sarda Arancini with Spiced Blackberry Coulis

Sweet Sassy Molassy

I’m not going to lie – this recipe is a little banana cakes. But here’s the skinny. Marx Foods, fine food experts and foodie dream, held a contest to turn fregola sarda (a Sicilian treat similar to Israeli couscous) into *gasp* a dessert. So my brain got to working and did a lily pad leaping move from rice pudding to beignets to arancini to a coulis in lieu of marinara. Wait, what? Now factor in that I have to include star anise or saffron or vanilla bean. Or all three. Can it be done? Continue reading Sweet Fregola Sarda Arancini with Spiced Blackberry Coulis

Pasta with Camembert, Asparagus and Peas

You should be ashamed of yourself.  I saw you eyeing the pasta on that Olive Garden commercial with hungry eyes.  You know it’s not delicious.  You know it wasn’t actually created in a Tuscan cooking school with Michelin star winning chefs.  Most importantly, you know you can’t trust any place that thinks variety in ingredients is a simple choice between chicken in cream sauce or sausage in tomato cream sauce.  For shame, OG, for shame! Continue reading Pasta with Camembert, Asparagus and Peas

Mini Beef Wellington with Morel Bearnaise and Melted Leeks

Challenge Entry in 3rd Annual Morel Recipe Competition
This recipe was my humble entry into the 3rd Annual Marx Foods Morel Mushroom Competition. Try as we might to garner a win for this exceedingly delicious recipe, we did not come up victorious (we were 3rd place in the popular vote).  But really, in all honesty, we feel as though we won the grand prize in simply getting to eat the mini wellington ourselves.  Our heartfelt thanks to all who voted and spread the word for folks to vote, and a special thanks to Karen M. for slaving with me in the kitchen.  You’re a doll!
I’m bored.  I want to have a party.  I want to have a full out blast and feast on a menu that is a hands down knock out from start to finish.  And to start it off, I want a dish that is worthy of some seriously expensive champagne wishes and caviar dreams.  I want to tuck into it with a big ol’ smile on my face and some hilarious friends nearby doing the same thing.  And I could care less about how many sticks of butter I kill in the process.


When I think of ingredients that get me truly excited, morel mushrooms are high on the list.  I mentioned to a friend that I was going to be crafting a recipe for the 3rd Annual Marx Foods Morel Mushroom Competition, and she asked what I’d do if I won 2 lbs. of fresh morels as the grand prize.  I told her I’d probably roll around in them in a giggle fit, I love them so.  The little earthy caps of goodness are so worthy of reverence, you can’t help but be overjoyed with the prospect of cooking something incredible with them.  They make me want to move to Minnesota, the state that has named the morel as their official mushroom.  Of course the morel mushroom has an invite to my party.

Since the chefs in the competition have been tasked to create “an original hors d’oeuvre recipe using dried morels,” I wanted to come up with something worthy of fireworks.  I mean, if this dish was to set off my party with a bang and feature the complex flavors of the morel mushroom, it’d need to be amazing. So of course I needed to invite filet mignon to the soiree and some bearnaise to bring it all home.  Now we’re talking!

Photo © Angela GunderThis mini version of beef wellington is elevated to the utmost of decadence with the addition of morel mushrooms.  Coupled with melted leeks and a delicate bearnaise soaked up by all the nooks and crannies in the mushrooms, the small bite belies huge flavors.  These can be served as small bites (speared with a sprig of rosemary for a fun take on a skewer) or plated with a pool of bearnaise and leeks to attack with a vengeance.  Either way, if this is your first bite of the night, know that the tone has been set for a party worth remembering.  You should totally come.  And bring that Dom P you know I like so much.  We’re getting bubbly tonight.

Mini Beef Wellington with Morel Bearnaise and Melted Leeks

2 oz. dried morel mushrooms
2 c. of beef stock
2 c. of water

2 sprigs of tarragon
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup white wine
4 egg yolks
1 stick and 1 tbs. of butter, melted
1/8 tsp of white pepper
salt to taste

4 tbs. of butter
1 shallot
8 oz. of mild flavored mushrooms (oyster, white button, crimini or chanterelle), finely chopped
1/8 tsp. of black pepper
1/4 tsp. of white pepper
1/4 tsp of tarragon
1 tsp. of salt

2 leeks, white and pale green parts only
3 tbs. of butter
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1/8 tsp. of salt

3 filet mignon steaks
1 tbs. dijon mustard
12 slices of pancetta
salt and pepper
1 box of puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
1 tbs. of cream

Prep the Morels
Bring the beef stock and water to a boil.  Add morel mushrooms and turn off the heat.  Put a lid on the pot and allow the mushrooms to steep in the beef stock for at least a half an hour.

Make the White Wine Reduction
Add the white wine, wine vinegar, shallot and tarragon to a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and then reduce the liquid to about 2-3 tablespoons.  Strain mixture and set aside to cool.

Make the Duxelle
Melt butter over low heat in a skillet.  When melted, crank up heat to medium and add your chopped shallot and mushrooms.  Stir gently to keep from sticking, and keep heat on the low side so as to not color the mushrooms.  When veggies are tender, add black pepper, white pepper, tarragon and salt.  Taste for seasoning and correct if necessary.  Continue to cook over medium low until the mushrooms absorb all of the juices released and the mixture forms a semi-dry paste.  Chop half of the morel mushrooms and mix them into the duxelle.  Set aside and allow to cool.

Melt the Leeks
Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and rinse thoroughly to remove any dirt or sand.  Finely chop the leeks.  Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat and add the leeks.  Cook gently until tender, about 10 minutes.  Set aside.

Assemble the Wellington
Preheat the oven to 425°.  Flour a cutting board and lay out your puff pastry. Flour a rolling pin and roll out sheet into a slightly larger square.  Cut into 6 squares and top each one with a slice of pancetta.  Spoon a few tablespoons of the mushroom duxelle on top of the pancetta.  Cut each of the filets into four cubes and season with coarse salt and cracked pepper.  Brush the cut sides with a small amount of dijon mustard and place on top of the duxelle.  Top with some more duxelle and bring the corners of the puff pastry together in the center to close up the package.  Place the mini wellington seam side down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all of the cubes have been wrapped.  Cut a small cross into the tops of each of the parcels.  In a small bowl, beat together the egg and cream.  Brush the tops of the puff pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle with kosher salt and cracked pepper.  Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and lovely.  Let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Make the Bearnaise
Melt the butter – I like to use a pyrex because it’s easy to pour.  Put the 4 egg yolks and vinegar reduction into the blender and mix on low. Slowly stream in half of the melted butter and allow to emulsify.  Crank up the speed to high and stream in the rest of the butter.  Your sauce will be thick and bright yellow, like a slightly loose mayonnaise.  Season with salt and white pepper to taste.  Chop the rest of the morel mushrooms and fold into the bearnaise, along with half of the leeks.  Keep warm until ready to serve.

Plate and Serve
To serve, spread a bit of the bearnaise on the bottom of a plate.  Slice one of the wellingtons in half.  Mound a small amount of the remaining leeks on the plate and top with a wellington half.  Add the morel mushrooms to the side of the wellington and garnish with chives or a rosemary sprig (or both).  Call up the crew and kick boredom’s ass with an impromptu party of the most fabulous kind.

If you’d like to serve as a passable appetizer, cut wellingtons into quarters.  Spear each quarter with a sprig of rosemary with the leaves removed from the woodier portion of the stem, allowing you to use it as a skewer.  Mix all of the leeks into the bearnaise and serve in a bowl on the side for dipping.

Porcupine Meatballs (Italian Beef Meatballs with Rice)

Nope, no bits of real porcupine in this one.  Just a good ole-fashioned Italian meatball recipe with the inclusion of rice – imagine the filling for stuffed peppers as a standalone dish.  That’s the goodness that is this porcupine free recipe.

This one holds a very special place in my heart as it is, on record, my first memory of ever cooking anything by myself.  As a means of breaking me into the long line of great female cooks in our family, my grandmother and mother purchased me a cookbook for kids when I was 9 or 10.  I remember pouring through the pages, wanting to be a part of the group of kids in the test kitchen pictured creating and devouring the many recipes.  I particularly like the cooked dishes – the idea that I could be responsible for more than a PBJ cut with a cookie-cutter was exhilarating.  One of the recipes, called “Porcupine Meatballs” was particularly interesting to me and seemingly edible for the family, so my mom said that it’d be a good one to start with. Continue reading Porcupine Meatballs (Italian Beef Meatballs with Rice)

Poor Man’s Linguine with Clams

Despite all of my champagne wishes and caviar dreams, I am no Warren Buffett when it comes to grocery shopping.  Or I should say that I have no Buffett budget, given that the man eats a DQ cheeseburger and a cherry coke every night.  Though I am such an ingredient purist time in and time out, occasionally, I make an exception or two.  One example would be in this recipe that uses *gasp* canned clams!

Linguine with White Clam Sauce © Spice or Die

Don’t give up on me just yet.  I love love love Linguine alle Vongole, or linguine with white clam sauce.  I crave it and when I do, I want it ASAP.  And yet, I don’t have the time or money to go clamming every time I have a hankering for some goodness.  And so I have created this version over the years that is an altered version of my Dad’s recipe.  The sentiment is still the same, however – you take a jar of white clam sauce, add an excessive amount of red pepper for heat and extra canned clams for awesomeness, and you serve atop boxed linguine.  You can scoff, but it beats the hell out of spending $20 on the clams alone, and all of the ingredients are readily available in your pantry and fridge.  No shame in my game. Continue reading Poor Man’s Linguine with Clams

Jiao Zi (Boiled Pork Dumplings)

Kitty Yum Yum’s Dumpling Emporium

I admit that I’m a bit of a fussy pants about collecting the best version of a recipe possible, to the point of years of trial and error to get things just right.  I believe in a specific set of credos of the kitchen, and won’t accept any substitutions for particular dishes that my palette is craving a certain way.  Was it Anthony Bourdain that said that people that refuse to peel garlic (by way of pre-chopped jarred garlic) don’t deserve to eat it?  I watch Sandra Lee cook out of seasoning packets and processed piles of ingredients, and it reminds me of why I enjoy spending a little extra time in the kitchen getting things just right.  It’s so worth it when the stars align and the recipe you’re working from just works. Continue reading Jiao Zi (Boiled Pork Dumplings)